Soy sauce poached fish
This recipe delivers so much for so little work – fish fillets cooked for a few minutes in a skillet with soy sauce, wine (or water) and a bit of sugar. The fish cooks up tender and succulent, with plenty of sauce to spoon over rice. Adapted from Mark Bittman.
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup good soy sauce (I use Kikkoman)
- 1/2 to 2/3 cup sake (or white wine, or water)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1-2 bunches scallions, trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths (or 1 onion, peeled and sliced)
- 1 dried or fresh chili, optional
- About 1 1/2 pounds mild white fish fillets (eg striped bass, grouper, halibut, cod; skin-on or not)
- Combine the soy sauce, sake (or water), sugar, scallions and chili in a skillet just large enough to hold the fish. Turn the heat to medium high, and bring to a boil.
- Add the fish, and adjust the heat so the mixture bubbles but not furiously. Cook a few minutes per side, turning once or twice, until the fish is coated with a brown glaze and cooked through (the flesh gives in when you poke it instead of resisting). Serve with white rice, spooning the sauce over and garnishing with the scallions.
- Bittman recommends striped bass, but I’ve used this recipe for all kinds of fish. Poaching leaves everything tender and delicious, but I like this best with flaky, mild white fish. Stronger-flavored fish, like salmon, can take a more intensely-flavored sauce, like teriyaki.
- It’s best to store fish sandwiched in ice or freezer packs in your refrigerator (fish is best kept between 32 and 34 degrees F, and your fridge is likely 36-40 degrees F).
- Frozen fish defrosts quickly when submerged in cold water (you can leave it in plastic if it’s shrink-wrapped), and then it’s ready for cooking.
- Because there are so few ingredients, this recipe relies on quality soy sauce. I always use Kikkoman, which is widely available.
- Feel free to play with this adaptable recipe: add fresh ginger or garlic; adjust the sweetness or the heat.
Here’s a link back to the post and pictures.